His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam welcomed discussions on mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates and the establishment of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) to restore cross-border movement and in turn improve the economies of both countries.
His Majesty also hoped for the further expansion of BIMP-EAGA cooperation, through Sabah and Sarawak, to increase trade connectivity between the two countries, boosting confidence in the private sector to move forward in the COVID-19 recovery phase.
His Majesty delivered the titah at the official luncheon for the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob and spouse Datin Sri Muhaini binti Zainal Abidin at Cheradi Laila Kenchana, Istana Nurul Iman yesterday.
His Majesty expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia in ensuring the welfare and safety of citizens are continuously secured.
His Majesty also touched on the Annual Leaders’ Consultation between the two countries, which has been held since 1997, where His Majesty highlighted that the consultation provides many opportunities to discuss matters of mutual importance.
Despite facing challenges under COVID-19, His Majesty was pleased with robust and steady developments demonstrated by cooperation in all areas including trade, defence, education and health. In further fostering the spirit of friendship, His Majesty also welcomed the next consultation which will be held in Malaysia.
His Majesty also expressed appreciation for Malaysia’s support to Brunei as Chair of ASEAN for 2021, particularly on efforts to elevate the importance as well as regional and international awareness on mental health.
Aside from that, His Majesty believed that as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term, Malaysia will continue to play an important role in advancing the human rights agenda at the global level.
Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri, meanwhile, expressed appreciation for His Majesty’s care and attention as seen through the assistance provided by His Majesty’s Government to Malaysia at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes medical equipment and test kits that have greatly benefitted hospitals in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan as well as repatriation assistance for Malaysian citizens stranded overseas. The official visit, said the prime minister, has the potential to mutually benefit Malaysia and Brunei through discussions to initiate the VTL for the two countries and further discussions on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates will facilitate the movement of citizens of both countries particularly for frequent cross-border travel.
Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri also welcomed efforts to explore other areas of cooperation with high potential and mutual benefits, in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and Brunei Vision 2035.